Thursday March 2nd


US futures trade mostly flat after record-breaking session

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mostly flat open on Thursday, after markets saw their highest volume day of 2017. Stocks posted their best day of 2017 yesterday as the Trump trade rally regained momentum. Buoyed by President Donald Trump's speech on Tuesday, which promised tax reform and infrastructure investment, the indexes set fresh record highs. The Dow gained more than 300 points to close above 21,000. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 broke through 2,300 and briefly rose above 2,400. Also, Snap priced its IPO at $17 a share, above the $14 to $16 range announced last month. Ahead of the opening bell, reported quarterly results. AB Inbev also posted results, with fourth-quarter revenue of $14.2 billion and net profit at $400 million. After the bell, earnings reports from Costco, Autodesk, American Outdoor Brands and Wingstop are expected to hit the tape. On the data front, we'll have the initial U.S. jobless claims data for the week ending February 25. Last week's reading increased 6,000 to 244,000. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index traded flat. European markets also had a good run on Wednesday, getting a boost from Trump's speech. Asia markets traded mostly higher Thursday, tracking gains in the U.S. where the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 21,000 and the dollar rose amid growing expectations for an interest rate hike in March. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed up 171.26 points, or 0.88 percent, at 19,564.80, while the Topix gained 11.60 points, or 0.75 percent, to 1,564.69. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi gained 11.01 points, or 0.53 percent, to 2,102.65 after South Korean markets were closed Wednesday for a public holiday. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index finished lower by 48.42 points, or 0.2 percent, at 23,728.07. Chinese mainland markets also fell behind regional peers; the Shanghai composite closed down 16.36 points, or 0.5 percent, at 3,230.57, while the Shenzhen composite fell 11.15 points, or 0.55 percent, to 1,997.71. Meanwhile, oil markets struggled, with Brent crude down 75 cents at $55.61 a barrel, while WTI crude fell 77 cents to $53.06 a barrel. Gold prices fell on Thursday, pressured by a stronger dollar on rising expectations of a U.S. rate hike in March, amid buoyant U.S. economic data. Spot gold fell 0.90 percent to $1,237.61 per ounce. On Monday, the metal rose to $1,263.80, its highest since Nov. 11. U.S. gold futures fell 0.95 percent to $1,238.10.